Small US town takes up on safer cosmetics campaign

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Personal care, Consumer protection, Fda

As debate over regulation and the safety of cosmetics in the United
States continues to heat up, campaigns by consumer advocacy groups
are starting to trigger action at a grass roots level.

With a population of just over 25,000 the town of Belmont in Massachusetts would not be considered to be the first place to launch an awareness program over the potential dangers of certain chemicals contained in personal care products. Nevertheless, Sustainable Belmont, a sub-group of Belmont Vision 21 Implementation Committee, has picked up on the word being spread by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, which has been pressurizing YUS cosmetic manufacturers to eliminate potentially harmful ingredients from products. Campaing puts pressure on FDA​ Likewise the campaign has also put pressure on the FDA to tighten up regulation surrounding chemicals used in personal care formulations, advising that potentially dangerous ingredients should carry consumer warning on product labels. As well as these points, the Sustainable Belmont campaign is also picking up on the fact that the FDA has tested only a handful of the more than 10,000 ingredients that are currently used in personal care products. It also points out that this is in stark contrast to regulation enforced by the European Union for personal care products, which has in fact banned more than 1,000 substances that potentially cause a range of medical conditions including cancer and reproductive problems. Campaign highlights consumer choice​ The campaign, launched by Belmont group today, also highlights the fact that consumers need to make informed choices about the types of personal care products they purchase, but that current regulations mean that there is only limited knowledge about potential safety issues. Bearing this in mind, the campaign is urging consumers to adopt what is termed a 'precautionary principle', until the time that products containing potentially dangerous chemicals are labeled as such on the packaging. Likewise the campaign is encouraging consumers to make it known to personal care manufacturers about their concerns regarding potentially dangerous chemicals in products, whilst simultaneously praising companies that are taking steps towards making their products safer. Grass roots level ​ The fact that this type of campaign is now moving to a more grass roots level indicates both the efficacy of this type of campaign and the breadth of the audience in the US. Although personal care firms contest that formulations are manufactured to strict standards that ensure consumer safety, many of the leading players have reported increased consumer pressure as a direct response to these types of campaign. Indeed, to counteract misleading consumer advocacy group campaigns, industry association Personal Care Products Council has been battling a campaign against 'misinformation' from such groups.

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